Author: Clayton Sammut
'A considerable amount of endemic species inhabit the Maltese Islands. The Maltese freshwater crab (Qabru in Maltese) is one of them. In the 50s, the invertebrate was so abundant that freshwater crab soup was a common Maltese delicacy. And up until Malta adopted the Euro, it graced the Maltese five cent coin. The Maltese freshwater crab is unique to our heritage, but it is now threatened with extinction.
Under the supervision of Prof. Adriana Vella and the University of Malta’s conservation research group, I used various population and biological parameters to analyse the data and produce conservation recommendations.
To estimate the crab population size and density, I used two techniques known as the capture–recapture method and distance sampling in a number of repeated surveys in different sites throughout the dry (August to mid-September) and wet season (October to January). I then measured the crabs to determine their life stage and sex. This revealed more information about the reproductive population size and recruitment at each study site.'